Dr. Bashkin received his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, and his D.Phil. from Oxford, England. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard before joining Monsanto Corporate Research. Dr. Bashkin moved from Monsanto to the Chemistry faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, and subsequently returned to industry at Monsanto (later Pharmacia and Pfizer). He joined the faculty at UMSL in 1999, started the biotech company NanoVir, LLC in 2003 with Chris Fisher, and in 2012 was appointed Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
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My group's research has recently been directed to the interface of chemistry and biology, in areas such as "chemical genomics" and the design of antiviral and anticancer agents. Much of this work involves the chemical synthesis and biochemical testing of sequence-specific DNA binding molecules designed to control gene expression. Our main goal is the invention of new chemical methods to treat and diagnose diseases.
Most recently, we have explored bacterial cell-cell communication (quorum sensing), DNA-binding proteins and minor groove-binding polyamides that control of gene expression. As part of this work, we have developed methods for controlling delivery of polyamides to the nucleus of cells, controlling the expression of the COX-2 gene, and inhibiting replication of human papillomavirus (the major cause of cervical cancer).
An earlier stage of our work was concerned with the design of ribozymes mimics: molecules capable of sequence specific cleavage of RNA by the natural transesterification/hydrolysis process. The applications of such molecules include catalytic antisense agents that might greatly enhance the efficiency of the antisense method for destruction of target messenger RNA molecules of biochemical and medicinal importance. We reported the first ribozymes mimic, which is shown schematically in Fig. 1.
The chemical synthesis of the active DNA building block is shown next; ribozymes mimics are constricted by solid-phase synthesis of specific DNA sequences containing the thymidine analog that forms the active site when bound to a divalent metal ion:
In addition to this biological chemistry, I have maintained a strong interest in environmentally-benign organic chemistry, known as Green Chemistry. This work involved developing organic reactions that eliminated toxic waste associated with traditional processes.
Selected Recent Publications
“Binding studies of a large antiviral polyamide to a natural HPV sequence”’ G. He, E. Vasilieva, G. D. Harris, K. J. Koeller, J. K. Bashkin and C. M. Dupureur, Biochimie 2014, 102, 83.
”Compounds for treating papilloma virus infection”, J. K. Bashkin, K. J. Koeller, T. G. Edwards and C. Fisher, PCT Int. Appl. 2014, WO 2014065848; A2 20140501.
″Modulation of DNA-polyamide interaction by β-alanine substitutions: a study of positional effects on binding affinity, kinetics and thermodynamics″, S. Wang, K. Aston, K. J. Koeller, D. G. Harris, N. P. Rath J. K. Bashkin and W. D. Wilson, Org. & Biomol. Chem. 2014, 12, 7523
"Differential thermodynamic signatures for DNA minor groove binding with changes in salt concentration and temperature," S. Wang, A. Kumar, K. Aston, B. Nguyen, J. K. Bashkin, D. W. Boykin and D. W. Wilson, Chem. Commun. 2013, 8543.
"DNA Damage Repair Genes Controlling Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Episome Levels under Conditions of Stability and Extreme Instability," T. G. Edwards, T. J. Vidmar, K. Koeller, J. K. Bashkin and C. Fisher, PLoS One, 2013, 8, e75446